Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 16, 2018

Salsa contest set forAug. 31

By David Hotle | Aug 22, 2017


Amateurs and professionals alike in the area of Mexican cuisine are invited to bring their best or most imaginative salsas to the Washington Farmers Market Thursday evening to take a taste test with other salsas from around the area.

Market master Bob Shepherd said on Thursday, Aug. 31, it will host the 18th annual Tasters’ Choice Salsa Contest at the market. Contestants need to furnish a quart of homemade salsa along with the salsa’s name, maker’s name, address and heat level. The bowls of salsa will be given a number and set up at the market for people to taste. Participants will be asked to choose the first- and second-best salsas. The winners will be announced at a future market.

“The contest started in 2000,” Shepherd said. “It is always the Thursday before Labor Day. We know there will be a lot of tomatoes and peppers and chilis and everything it takes to make salsa, as well as fruit. Some of our top salsas have been fruit.”

This week’s farmers market begins as 5 p.m. Thursday in Central Park. Shepherd said the market would be able to provide many fresh ingredients for people wishing to enter the contest the following week.

The contest has had a strong following. It is open to anyone who makes salsa, including people who market their salsas in grocery stores. Shepherd said some of the best salsas around are ones people have worked to fit their own palates. People can enter by bringing a quart of salsa to the market. A layout will be set up with ice and the salsa will be put in bowls. He commented that top salsas each year are the fresh garden salsas.

Over the years, the contest has developed, Shepherd said. He said there are many very good samples that come in to the contest. He said everything from fruit salsas to pico de gillos are featured.

“The great thing about our contest is that it is taster’s choice, which means the people who make the salsa is a part of it and the people who come and taste is a part of it,” Shepherd said. “They go through and try them all and pick the top two entries. We get everything from hot to medium or mild.”

He said one year over 30 salsas were entered. Shepherd said he likes to see people stretch their imaginations to come up with a good salsa. He also enjoys seeing people tasting the salsas and working to decide which they like best.

Shepherd said the quality over the past few years has been great. Several entries have gone on to be marketed in grocery stores.

The only rules are that the entry is a salsa and there is no double dipping.

Shepherd admits he sometimes troughs in some ringers — store-bought salsas. He said this is to ensure there is a baseline. He said the ringers have never been in the top three, but that store-bought salsa is improving.



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